Elad Lassry, Photographer, Filmmaker– Deceptively simple, aggressively frank, and yet incessantly jarring, the photographic work of Tel Aviv–born artist Elad Lassry has managed to strike such deep nerves in the art world that he has already been claimed as a conceptualist, a realist, a neo-Pictures Generation artist, a pop recycler, and just about every other genre that has anything to do with objects and their consumption. All of this means, of course, that the 32-year-old artist’s output is as poetic as it is rooted in our cultural climate, toying simultaneously with formal structures and pop-culture signifiers. Lassry, who works out of his East Hollywood studio where he often brings his two black standard-size poodles, has a predilection for shooting still lifes of vegetables and fruits, cosmetics and animals, figurines, and even friends, usually set against bright colored backdrops, occasionally arranged on pedestals, often manipulated so multiple exposures allow for doubling, ghosted images, or a blur. Other times he appropriates from vintage photography, turning stock shots into menacing collages.The audience is left to deal with a series of subjects that should be easy to digest but instead become disarming psychograms. “I’m interested in the status of the picture in the 21st century,” Lassry says. “What happens to the picture outside its many institutions.” If Lassry has freed the image from its usual constraints, he has also freed it from our own expectations. Hollywood, or at least filmmaking, is another institution that he has been tackling in a number of recent film works. He has made films with ballet dancers, actress Radha Mitchell, and, most recently, one that starred a California king snake and the actress Rose Byrne. Many of Lassry’s photographs are even devoted to Hollywood legend Anthony Perkins, in whom the artist first became interested while watching Psycho as a child. It somehow seems fitting that the actor who played a man who played his mother who killed women whom her son had crushes on who then had to clean up all the evidence and make it seem like nothing happened should hold Lassry’s attention. There is a parallel here to the artist’s pictures, where everything seems normal but everything has happened.
Elad Lassry near his studio on Melrose in East Hollywood, Los Angeles, October 2010. Shirt: D&G. All other clothing: Lassry’s own.
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